Burnt winter potatoes

We are thieves,
we slink past mother when she’s not looking,
we grab the winter potatoes and stuff them in our crummy jacket pockets.
We are lawless, we giggle and getaway.

It’s December, the mountains are cold,
the pines have dried from green to brown.
We drag the dead branches bigger than us,
heap them in a pile in the forest and make the biggest fire.

Not without much struggle and bickering.

The fire fills our hearts with warm comforting bubbles,
it turns our faces red as we gleefully toss the stolen loot into the embers.
We are lawless, we giggle
and push them deeper into fine grey ash fighting the smoke
that only chases children who pee on open roads,
or so grandmother says and then
we wait some more with tears in our eyes,
with dry cracks forming on our plump cheeks,
with ash on our clothes falling like snow to the music
of cracking fire till the scent of pine is a core memory
— we smell like the winter’s day and wood-stove.

Then we rescue them,
rolling them out with twigs and
burning our hungry impatient mouths
on savory burnt ashy skins that are the most delicious.
It was a time when we never knew we were poor,
a time when we were truly free.

P.S — It was said that that the person who the smoke chased or went towards was a shameless person who peeed on village roads instead of the toilet! Don’t pee on roads guys! The smoke will get you! :D



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Priscilla Prerna Rai

Priscilla Prerna Rai

Writer of sorts Vancouver | Himalayan